Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
Do you ever wake wondering not only where you are; But do you ever wake wondering when you are?
Even though its much larger than most of the places I’ve lived and taught in prior to, caught somewhere between then and now, Shangrao city actually feels more like a country town than most which that makes its living from farming, along with some copper works and firework and tobacco factories thrown in. Unlike Shaowu in Fujian, the city and surrounding areas are relatively flat which for me who loves riding hills, is a tad too mundane and easy. None the less it really is a wonderful place to live and I have already found several bike rides that when put together take me around the outskirts of the entire city and takes between three to four hours to ride.
The time of course, depends on whether a random road or alley catches my interest.
I live in Shangrao County which is a twenty minute ride from the shopping district where all the glitz and glamour can be found mainly in and around the main Shopping Mall/Pedestrian Street. Here a tiny labyrinth of vibrant alleyways lined with smoky BBQ stalls caters to those with a snack need and where tuk tuks and peddycabs fight their way through the hustle and bustle of a China from yesteryear. Overshadowing the latter can be found modern multi-story shopping malls filled to the brim with everything that the Chinese of the new millennium needs to survive. A billion mobile phone and computer stores call out to those who require the latest devices to keep in touch along with clothing stores and restaurants (prices that make me cringe) that cater to those who have the need to be seen in all the right places dressed in the latest fashion.
Thankfully two cinemas and an in expensive Japanese restaurant can also found to satisfy my own cravings of what I believe to be 'modern & with the in-crowd’ but sadly though, GooTeens wasn’t the Japanese haven I was hoping for!
More than a handful of leafy green parks and gardens can be found scattered throughout the city which for me make wonderful A to B destinations on my rides and many of which I’ll throw together a blog for, so now I won’t bother going into detail. The Xingjiang River divides the city proper from the poorer farming areas where small villages can be found where they ‘were’ a century or so ago, but not as they were. Most now have been torn down and rebuilt with the more modern and eye offensive two to three story brick Chinese homes. Even sadder is the fact that I am yet to find a single village that can even begin to be compared to what is found only a twenty minute bike ride from Shaowu city in Fujian.
But I will find one, oh yes I will! As for ancient temples and pagodas?
Even though I was told that there were not many to be found, I have found more than several hidden away in the hills and behind the more modern facades in and around the city and for now, along with my Beers N Noodles, that is all I need to be happy.
<u>Now For a Bit on Shangrao City</u>
Shangrao City is located in the northeast of Jiangxi Province close to the borders with the provinces of Zhejiang in the east and Anhui in the north, while Fujian province lies to the south. Shangrao, whose name means ‘land of fertile richness’ in Chinese, has a long history. Different administrative agencies were set up in the region in ancient times and Shangrao once belonged to the Wu and Yue states during the Spring and Autumn Period (770BC-476BC). During the Sui Dynasty, the region was named Raozhou and then later (one thousand seven hundred years ago) it was called Poyang Shire and during the Tang Dynasty its name changed back to Raozhou.
Apart from being known for its wonderful countryside views, Shangrao also draws people's attention due the archaeological site of Xianrendong. This is where the earliest pottery artefacts discovered in China were found which tell that humans settled the area more than ten thousand years ago and that Shangrao is believed to be one of the birthplaces of paddy horticulture in the world.
Hills and low to medium high mountains are the main features of Shangrao's landform and it is separated by Wuyishan Mountain from Fujian Province in the south. In addition, it has Huaiyushan Mountains in the central region and offshoots of Mt. Huangshan in north boundary area with Anhui Province.
Sanqing Mountain is a famous Taoist resort at the junction of Yushan County and Dexing City. The mountain contains ten scenic spots embracing natural wonders such as steep cliffs, cloud seas, conifers and waterfalls. There are two main tourist routes; the easier going southern route and the rugged north route which is more acceptable to those who love climbing.
Wuyuan County houses some of the most beautiful countryside in China and boasts multitudes of old trees, caves, ancient buildings and cultural relics. Vibrant yellow rape flowers spread into the depths of the valleys and some villages are hemmed in by rape fields. Each spring when the rape is in full bloom many visitors and numerous photographers are attracted to the area.
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________
The soundtrack to this entry was by WASP The album was ‘Unholy Terror’ ____________________________________________________________